I started the first version of my blog in June of 2001. I didn’t know what Blogger was, much less moveable type. So I took a page from my role model Casey Newton and created an html document with tables, and posted a new row of the table each day. Thus, when the planes were hijacked, I had a blog, and I posted my immediate thoughts. I even colored the table black to mark the occasion.

What I said then has been lost to the ether, or, if you want to be crude about it, to the dark recesses of my reformatted hard drive. But I remember what I felt. I wanted America to hunt down the terrorist organizations and states that had sponsored this and publicly execute those responsible. I pondered long and hard about how we should kill Osama bin Laden. And I really launched into all the material I could find on Islamic terrorism. I read Ahmed Rashid’s “Taliban” and Robert Kaplan’s “Soldiers of God” and a bunch of online resources of dubious quality. I can still remember the mood that brought all this on. It was like being 11 and psyching yourself up to go meet a bully at the basketball court at 3 o’clock. It wasn’t insurmountable – I even bought Bob Dylan’s new album on 9/11. But it was everpresent for months, and I can still fall into that mindset when I want to.

This is the first Sept. 11 since then that I haven’t felt safe. What’s changed since 2003? Richard Clarke, mostly. I was glad that George Bush was going after terror networks in 2001, but now, I think someone with a smarter, less myopic strategy would do better. And that’s it.


“A different set of rules”
This is pretty indefensible.

Bush forced a smile as the seven interrupted his speech in waves. As the crowd drowned them out with chants of “Four More Years,” the demonstrators were led roughly from the room by event ushers as a few attendees shouted “traitors.” Outside, plainclothes Secret Service agents, joined by Blake Gottesman, Bush’s personal aide, circled the demonstrators.

One uniformed Secret Service agent complained to a colleague that “the press is having a field day” with the disruption — and the agents quickly clamped down. Journalists were told that if they sought to approach the demonstrators, they would not be allowed to return to the event site — even though their colleagues were free to come and go. An agent, who did not give his name, told one journalist who was blocked from returning to the speech that this was punishment for approaching the demonstrators and that there was a “different set of rules” for reporters who did not seek out the activists.

Glenn is usually so concerned about the crushing of dissent. Where is he on this one?


About face(s)
The single most ironic aspect of this campaign is that George Bush – an inarticulate guy prone to misstatements and gaffes – is winning points by using footage, in his ads, of John Kerry speaking. I’m including the Swift Boat guys (“cut off limbs,” “I don’t know how many I threw back”) in this analysis.

The thing is – Bush has, on camera, said incredibly dumb things since 9/11. He has said we’re going to win the war on terror, then said “I don’t think you can win it.” He’s said “I think the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence.” He has said very stupid, very wrong things.

So why the fuck am I not seeing Kerry/Edwards ads using this footage? I wonder if anti-Bush types are so familar with Bush’s gaffes and mistakes that they assume the rest of the country knows about them, too. There’s a lot to that – the Nation magazine types have been shouting about Bush’s idiocy since, Christ, 1999 or so. But it is one thing to say “the president has made wrong choices,” as Kerry is, and another to show him awkwardly changing his positions after he’s fucked stuff up. Do that. For Christ’s sake.


Conversation with a young person, 2031
YOUNG PERSON: You voted in the 2004 election? Wow!
DAVE W: Well, it was actually pretty uneventful.
YP: What are you talking about? What about the anthrax attack in New York?
DW: No, that happened in 2005.
YP: Oh. But countries were dropping the dollar to start trading in Euros, right?
DW: Actually, that was more like 2006, early 2007. After the oil crisis.
YP: So what was happening in 2004?
DW: Well, it was pretty obvious that Iraq was becoming a fundamentalist state. Terrorists were raising hell pretty much everywhere – the ex-Soviet states, our European allies, South Asia.
YP: Yeah, I know. But did Bush have a way to explain that stuff?
DW: Um. Not really. He sort of kept saying “America and the world are safer.”
YP: Come on, that’s bullshit!
DW: Yeah, it was. But that’s what he said.
YP: And Kerry called him on it?
DW: Not really. He sort of talked about health care and entitlements.
YP: So he didn’t challenge Bush and say America was less safe?
DW: Nope. Not sure way.
YP: But what were reporters doing about this?
DW: Well, apparently veterans were angry with Kerry for opposing the Vietnam war in 1971. And Bush had dodged the draft. And apparently some people forged memos about Bush’s national guard days. People were really obsessed with that.
YP: …
DW: What?
YP: Are you fucking kidding? What the fuck? The country was fucking under attack and terrorists were fucking striking all over the world and you people were fucking talking about what the fucking candidates had done in the fucking 1970s?
DW: I don’t have a witty response to this.

UPDATE: This post originally contained a link to a state-run Egyptian paper. I have removed that link. Removed a dumb joke, too.


Ralph Nader lies
Well, duh, but this one is particularly bad.

On Labor Day, neither the Republican or Democratic Party candidates focused on the crisis in our workforce—high levels of unemployment and underemployment, low wages, the right to organize undermined, no job security, losing competition to the world market.

What did John Kerry focus on?

Over the past four years, America has lost 1.8 million private sector jobs — while giving tax breaks to companies that send jobs overseas.

Family income is down by more than $1,500, while health care, energy, and college costs have shot through the roof. Moreover, as America’s deficit skyrockets — threatening Social Security and Medicare — U.S. taxpayers have been stuck with the bill for our war in Iraq.

This administration just changed the law to deny 6 million workers their right to overtime pay, making it harder for them to pay their bills and get ahead.

In addition, they have withdrawn a rule that would have prevented many workers from exposure to tuberculosis. And they’ve raised the level of coal dust allowed in mines, a leading cause of black lung disease in our coal miners.

At the same time, many businesses are unable to grow and create new jobs because they simply can’t afford to pay for the health insurance their employees need.

Politicians are liars. Ralph Nader is a politician. Not a very good one, though.


At present, C-Span one is playing Bush’s 2004 convention speech and C-Span two is playing his 2000 convention speech. I’m surprised. He’s worlds better now.

UPDATE: I get it now. The 2000 speech was the source of Will Ferrell’s impression. Bush stood as if his spine was nailed to a telephone poll, squinted, and rotated his head side to side slowly, like one of those trick holes at a mini golf course. Now he’s got those ducking, grinning, and hand-chopping mannerisms that the Daily Show video editors are so in love with.


Buy Reason magazine!
If you see it, buy the new Reason magazine with Kerry and Bush on the cover – the October issue. I have a feature story on the return of the nanny university and the deathbed wheeze of in loco parentis. You should be buying Reason every month, of course.